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Promoting excellence: standards for medical education and training

These standards set out requirements for the management and delivery of undergraduate and postgraduate medical education and training.

These standards came into effect on 1 January 2016 and replace the previous standards in Tomorrow’s Doctors (pdf) and The Trainee Doctor (pdf).

For more information see About these standards, FAQs, and Resources.

Patient safety is the first priority

Patient safety is at the core of these standards. Just as good medical students and doctors make the care of their patients their first concern, so must the organisations that educate and train medical students and doctors. In non-clinical learning environments, there should also be a culture of promoting patient safety.

We set out the professional values, knowledge, skills and behaviours required of all doctors working in the UK in Good medical practice. We also expect medical students to meet these standards when they have contact with patients. The learner’s* ability to develop the appropriate professional values, knowledge, skills and behaviours is influenced by the learning environment and culture in which they are educated and trained.

Patient safety runs through our standards and requirements. Patient safety is inseparable from a good learning environment and culture that values and supports learners and educators. Where our standards previously focused on protecting patients from any risk posed by medical students and doctors in training, we will now make sure that education and training takes place where patients are safe, the care and experience of patients is good, and education and training are valued.

* Learners are medical students and doctors in training.

Theme 1: Learning environment and culture

S1.1 The learning environment is safe for patients and supportive for learners and educators. The culture is caring, compassionate and provides a good standard of care and experience for patients, carers and families.

S1.2 The learning environment and organisational culture value and support education and training so that learners are able to demonstrate what is expected in Good medical practice and to achieve the learning outcomes required by their curriculum.*

* For undergraduate education, the learning outcomes for graduates are set out in Outcomes for graduates. For postgraduate training, the curriculum is approved by the General Medical Council.

See what an organisation must do to show they are meeting these standards at Theme 1: Learning environment and culture.

Theme 2: Educational governance and leadership

S2.1 The educational governance system continuously improves the quality and outcomes of education and training by measuring performance against the standards, demonstrating accountability, and responding when standards are not being met.

S2.2 The educational and clinical governance systems are integrated, allowing organisations to address concerns about patient safety, the standard of care, and the standard of education and training.

S2.3 The educational governance system makes sure that education and training is fair and is based on principles of equality and diversity.

See what an organisation must do to show they are meeting these standards at Theme 2: Educational governance and leadership.

Theme 3: Supporting learners

S3.1 Learners receive educational and pastoral support to be able to demonstrate what is expected in Good medical practice and to achieve the learning outcomes required by their curriculum.

See what an organisation must do to show they are meeting these standards at Theme 3: Supporting learners.

Theme 4: Supporting educators

S4.1 Educators are selected, inducted, trained and appraised to reflect their education and training responsibilities.

S4.2 Educators receive the support, resources and time to meet their education and training responsibilities.

See what an organisation must do to show they are meeting these standards at Theme 4: Supporting educators.

Theme 5: Developing and implementing curricula and assessments

S5.1 Medical school curricula and assessments are developed and implemented so that medical students are able to achieve the learning outcomes required for graduates.

S5.2 Postgraduate curricula and assessments are implemented so that doctors in training are able to demonstrate what is expected in Good medical practice and to achieve the learning outcomes required by their curriculum.

See what an organisation must do to show they are meeting these standards at Theme 5: Developing and implementing curricula and assessments.